Finance & Compliance

What is Payroll and How to Run Compliant Payroll in Singapore

Winnie Lu

Mar 1, 2024
Running a compliant payroll in Singapore involves understanding the complex legal landscape, which includes adhering to the Employment Act, Income Tax Act, and contributions to the Central Provident Fund (CPF), among others.

This comprehensive guide will navigate you through the essentials of payroll, compliance requirements, and best practices for businesses in Singapore.

Understanding Payroll in Singapore

Payroll management is crucial for any business, involving everything from calculating salaries to ensuring compliance with local laws. In Singapore, payroll includes basic salary calculations, overtime pay, bonuses, allowances, payslips issuance, and income tax considerations.

The Legal Framework

Here’re several acts you need to know as an employee or HR before running payroll in Singapore:

  • The Employment Act provides the basic terms of employment, including payment of salary, working hours, and overtime pay.
  • The CPF Act mandates contributions by both employers and employees to the CPF, a key pillar of Singapore's social security system.
  • Other important legislation includes the Income Tax Act, Child Development Co-Savings Act, Retirement and Re-employment Act, Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, Personal Data Protection Act, and Work Injury Compensation Act.
Here’re several acts you need to know before running payroll in Singapore (Photo by Mikhail Nilov)

Payroll Components

A compliant payroll in Singapore should accurately handle:

  • Salary Calculations: Including basic wages, overtime, bonuses, and allowances.
  • Mandatory Contributions: Such as CPF, Skills Development Levy (SDL), and Foreign Worker Levy (FWL).
  • Leave Entitlements: Covering annual leave, sick leave, maternity, and paternity leave as stipulated under the Employment Act.

Income Taxes

In Singapore, the responsibility of deducting taxes from employees' salaries falls on the employees themselves. Employers are required to prepare and submit Form IR8A and related appendices annually for each employee to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).

Running Compliant Payroll

When setting up payroll in Singapore for the first time, there are several key steps you need to undertake to ensure compliance and smooth operations.

There are several key steps you need to undertake to ensure compliance and smooth operations. (Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko)

Step-by-Step Payroll Processing

After these foundational elements are in place, you can start the actual payroll setup process:

  1. Payroll Setup: Incorporate your local company or register a foreign branch through Bizfile+, and open a business bank account to handle transactions, including payroll and statutory contributions.
  2. Data Collection: Gather accurate employee work hours, overtime, and other relevant data.
  3. Salary Calculation: Compute the monthly salaries, taking into account all applicable allowances, deductions, and contributions.
  4. Issuance of Payslips: Generate and distribute payslips to employees, detailing their earnings and deductions. (Click here to download the payslip sample form provided by MoM.)
  5. Statutory Submissions: Prepare and submit mandatory reports and contributions to relevant authorities, including IRAS and CPF Board.
  6. Annual Reporting: Compile and submit annual income tax documentation for each employee.

It’s important to keep detailed and accurate payroll records, including employee details, payslips, and CPF contributions, for at least five years. Also, you need to regularly update your knowledge of changes in legislation affecting payroll, taxes, and employee benefits.

The process might seem daunting initially. Fortunately, there are numerous resources and service providers available to assist you, including payroll software solutions and professional consultancy services, which can help streamline your payroll operations and ensure compliance with Singaporean regulations.

Streamlining Payroll with Swingvy🌟

Simplify your payroll with Swingvy HR & Payroll software, ensuring every payment is precise and on time, while aligning with Singapore's rules. Our tool does the heavy lifting—calculating wages, CPF, and more—so you don't have to worry.

And if you'd rather focus on growing your business, let Swingvy's Payroll Outsourcing Service take over. Our experts manage everything payroll-related, giving you peace of mind and more time to invest where it matters most. Trust Swingvy for hassle-free payroll solutions tailored for your success.

Speak to us to see how Swingvy can assist you to manage payroll effortlessly.

Simplify HR management and payroll processing with Swingvy.


Running a compliant payroll in Singapore requires meticulous attention to legal requirements, accurate record-keeping, and a systematic approach to payroll processing. By following the outlined steps, businesses can ensure a smooth payroll process that motivates employees and complies with Singaporean laws.

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